Cultures and Ethnic Groups

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The world’s nearly 200 countries are populated by thousands of ethnic groups. The approximate number of ethnic group is uncertain, as sociologists and ethnographers disagree on definitions and census methods. Additionally, ethnic groups are constantly evolving, making them harder to categorize. The study of ethnic groups is concerned with the history and development of a group of people, and the relationship between the group and the larger society. Conflicts arise when the traditions and beliefs of ethnic groups preclude the laws of the society in which they live. These conflicts can call into question issues of individual rights versus government and tradition versus modernization.

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